A Look at Self-Actualization…

This is an entry from a journal I keep and update regularly – This was actually written back in 2004 when I worked for a VP who understood how important people were to a great business.
So I met with my VP last Thursday and I heard him speak two words I hadn’t heard since sociology 101: self-actualization. We were having a meeting about training and I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to get people motivated to seek training (b/c you can’t just force it on them). He said: self-actualization.

I am a self-help nut – totally into Dr. Phil [this was before he went off the deep end], etc and all that, so when he said those words, I had to investigate: who is the self-actualized person? So I googled and got a few interesting answers.

(Background: Self-Actualization is the highest peak in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The pyramid goes in this order from bottom to top: survival, security, love, self-esteem and self-actualization. in order to be self-actualized, a person must have satisfaction in the preceding levels of the hierarchy.)

1. Self actualizing people do not fear the new and unknown. They have a real view of the world around them and can deal with what they see. They are aware of the imperfections of humans and their nature, but they are not critical…they respect and esteem others.

2. They are not posers – they are open, honest and genuine.

3. They are spontaneous and seek growth for internal reasons, not external.

4. They are compassionate and focused on problems outside their own.

5. They are able to be alone, but not lonely. They actually enjoy privacy.

6. They continually experience awe and wonder in their everyday world. They see endless horizons and beginnings.

7. They have deep interpersonal relationships. Their circle of friends is often small.

8. They do not discriminate. The opportunity to learn a lesson may lie in the face of any color, race, gender or age. They are also highly ethical.

9. They have a very philosophical sense of humor intrinsic to the situation or person.

10. They are creative – not in talent, but in thinking – bringing a fresh perspective to any situation.

11. They are childlike but wise. Work becomes play.

Of course this is all paraphrased from several websites and not every self-actualized person has ‘all’ of these traits. And being self-actualized is not confined to an age or stage in one’s life. What’s important is the act of reaching self-actualization.

How do you reach self-actualization? Through self-exploration and action. “The deeper the self-exploration, the closer to self-actualization you become”.

Now I need to find out how to inspire self-exploration…Any suggestions?


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